Teck waiting for next coal wave to revive Quintette – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – October 8, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER — Teck Resources Ltd. is sitting on a mountain of untapped coal at its Quintette property in northeastern British Columbia, hoping for market conditions to improve and give the project a new beginning.

Quintette supplied metallurgical (or coking) coal to Japanese steel mills from 1982 until it closed in 2000. Today the coal market is all about China, but prices have plummeted in the wake of the country’s slowing growth and ample industry supply.

In June of this year, the B.C. government issued a mining permit to clear the way for Teck to operate an open-pit mine at Quintette, which is forecast to produce three million tonnes a year of metallurgical coal, a key ingredient in the production of steel. But with coal prices down more than 50 per cent over the past couple of years, Teck announced in July that it decided to delay capital spending of $300-million in 2013 and $350-million in the first half of 2014 that had been earmarked for Quintette.

Having watched the corporation nearly collapse during the 2008-09 recession, Teck executives are being cautious in their approach to Quintette.

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Ring of Fire Needs Sustainable Development With Real Ottawa and Ontario Leadership – by Claude Gravelle (Huffington Post – October 7, 2013)


Claude Gravelle is the Federal NDP MP for the riding of Nickel Belt.

The stalled Ring of Fire mining project finds itself at a critical crossroads with governments in Ottawa and Ontario needing to work together now more than ever. That will mean leadership that actually engages all parties and contributes to sustainable development.

Otherwise, this “project of the century for Northern Ontario” — with values from $50 billion to $120 billion being cited following discovery of world-class chromite deposits for stainless steel markets — may have to wait for another generation.

And with the ore under their feet, and time on their side, many First Nations communities are making it clear they can wait.

For some, 2013 had started off promising. In February, Ottawa had appointed Tony Clement to quarterback the Ring of Fire federal team to help break the inertia. A multi-department secretariat was announced. A modest but significant $4.5 million Aboriginal skills training project was made, picking up a New Democrat recommendation from the 2012 Natural Resources Committee study on northern resources development.

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Canada has ability to spy on Brazil, but lacks motive, security officials say – by Peter Koven and Stewart Bell (National Post – October 8, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Canadian security officials and mining companies were skeptical Monday over claims Canada had spied on Brazil’s mining and energy department, even as Brazil’s president accused Canada of apparent industrial espionage.

The Brazilian Foreign Minister summoned the Canadian ambassador to “transmit the indignation of the Brazilian government and demand explanations,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement that followed the revelations that were aired Sunday night on Brazil’s Globo network. The report said the metadata of phone calls and emails from and to the ministry were targeted by Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) to map the ministry’s communications. It didn’t indicate if emails were read or phone calls listened to.

Ray Boisvert, who was director general of counter-terrorism at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said on Monday Canada would have little reason to spy on Brazil’s mining sector. “Like any crime drama, you look for capability and intent. Could CSEC do Brazil? Of course, it has significant capability to collect intelligence in the national interest. But on motive, you come up way short. If it was Iran, nobody would be surprised. But this is Brazil,” he said. “I’m really short on motive.”

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K+S potash mine project progressing on time and on budget – by Bruce Johnstone (Regina Leader Post – October 7, 2013)


Project near Bethune set to begin production in 2017

It looks more like a big oil discovery than a multi-billion-dollar mining project, but Saskatchewan’s first new potash mine in 40 years is taking shape and set to begin production in 2017, according to the head of K+S’s $4-billion Legacy mine project.

“We’re right on track, in terms of not only schedule, but budget,” said Sam Farris, vice-president and general manager of operations for K+S’s Legacy mine project.

The reason the Legacy project looks like a hot oil play is the presence of not one, but two, big drilling rigs on the gently rolling prairie just north of Buffalo Pound Lake. “They’re not much different than a conventional oil rig,” said Farris. In fact, the drilling rigs being used by K+S are oil drilling rigs operated by Akita Drilling Ltd. Instead of oil, however, K+S plans to produce a briny mixture composed of potash, salt and water from three different potash formations about 1,500 metres below the surface. That salty solution will be crystallized to form the “mother liquor” that will later be processed into three different potash products.

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Brazil summons Canadian ambassador over spying allegations – by By Laura Payton (CBC News Politics – October 07, 2013)


Canadian officials refuse to say whether they monitored Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry

Brazil’s foreign affairs minister summoned Canada’s ambassador to the country to explain spying allegations, a Canadian official confirmed to CBC News Monday.

The summons, a serious diplomatic measure, comes the day after a Brazilian television report said the Communications Security Establishment Canada used phone and email metadata to map the communications of Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry.

Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado summoned Jamal Khokhar, Canada’s ambassador in Brasilia, on Monday.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tweeted Monday that her country’s Foreign Affairs Department would demand an explanation from Canada regarding the allegations, Reuters reported.

Canadian officials have refused to respond to questions by reporters about the allegations by TV Globo that the Communications Security Establishment Canada used phone and email metadata to map the communications of Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry.

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Developing the Ring of Fire Could Transform the Region – by Michael Gravelle (Huffington Post – October 7, 2013)


Michael Gravelle is the Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines

Approximately 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, in the James Bay Lowlands, sits an estimated $30-50 billion worth of untapped mineral resources. When developed, this exciting discovery will potentially transform the region, create thousands of jobs and enhance the future economic prosperity for Ontario.

Realizing the full potential of the Ring of Fire is an extremely complex undertaking, one that our government takes very seriously. We have to make sure that we get it right. This means making important investments in people, infrastructure and building the right business climate for successful development.

Our government has taken important steps to lay the ground work for the Ring of Fire development and we continue to work with aboriginal communities, municipalities and our industry partners to see smart, sustainable and collaborative development move forward in the region.

We are leveraging this groundwork and continuing to drive growth in “gateway” Ring of Fire communities, like Greenstone for example; supporting initiatives like the Grow Greenstone Expo, where businesses and individuals recently gathered to discover opportunities, build business relationships, and develop the skills needed for careers in the mining industry.

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[Saskatchewan’s Premier] Wall can use history lesson – Saskatoon StarPhoenix (October 7, 2013)


Today marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation.

Except for a symposium taking place at the soon-to-berenamed Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, this landmark anniversary has received very little attention from a federal government that spent millions celebrating the War of 1812.

While that war provided Canada with a sense of identity, no other single event did more for the creation of both Canada and the United States and delineated their respective histories than did King George III’s proclamation on how Britain would deal with the indigenous people of its new empire.

As former Supreme Court justice Emmett Hall observed in a ruling, the proclamation’s force as a statute stands with that of the Magna Carta as being foundational to British law throughout the empire.

To be sure, as Ken Coates of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan wrote recently, Canada’s commitment to the treaties it signed has often faltered in implementation, but governments and courts lately have moved grudgingly toward ensuring the nation’s formal obligations are met.

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Ring Of Fire Negotiations: Bob Rae Must Turn Legacy Of Failure Into Hope For Future – by Sunny Freeman (The Huffington Post – October 7, 2013)


MATAWA FIRST NATIONS MANAGEMENT INC. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING — Delegates at this corporate meeting pull up in pick-up trucks, not limos. Leaders sit at the table with elders and youth rather than aides or shareholders. No one dresses in suits or ties; they wear running shoes and ball caps.

The annual gathering of the Matawa First Nations Tribal Council doesn’t follow the conventions of the usual corporate annual general meeting, nor the formalities of government sessions.

During a sacred opening ceremony, elders load long pipes with tobacco and puff out billows of smoke as three men and a boy pound a powwow drum. Songs from time immemorial reverberate through the open doors of a rundown community centre where kids play ball hockey in the gym. At the top of the agenda: How to assert a unified stance on mining development that encroaches on traditional territories in this part of northern Ontario, home to a bed of lucrative mineral deposits that has been dubbed the Ring of Fire.

Near the back of the auditorium sits former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, whom Matawa has hired to head negotiations with the province over the mining projects. The snowy-haired 65-year-old is the only leader checking his BlackBerry and stands out in his crisp dress shirt when he takes a seat next to an elder wearing a “Native Pride” hat.

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Potash sector struggles with excess capacity – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 7, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Ten years ago, when Bill Doyle embarked on one of the biggest production expansion programs in the history of the potash business, there was an obvious rationale: the global population is rising, and the world has limited arable land to grow crops. More potash will be needed.

A decade later, that thesis remains as true as ever. But the logic of the expansion is not so obvious. The shareholders of Mr. Doyle’s company, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., cannot help but think about two key numbers: nine and 17.

Nine million tonnes is Potash Corp.’s anticipated production level in 2013. Thanks to those expansion projects, its capacity will be 17.1 million tonnes by 2015. Even this year, Potash Corp.’s production will not come close to its capacity of 12.8 million tonnes. So what will it do with 17?

It is fair to say that this is not the scenario Mr. Doyle envisioned when he greenlighted the $8.3-billion expansion a decade ago. If even some of that money was returned to shareholders instead, they would have been ecstatic. It has led some onlookers to suggest that Potash Corp. and other producers, which are also ramping up production, have expanded too far and too fast, costing themselves pricing power.

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Canadian spies targeted Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry: report – by The Associated Press (Globe and Mail – October 7, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A Brazilian television report that aired Sunday night said Canadian spies targeted Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry.

The report on Globo television was based on documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and was the latest showing that Latin America’s biggest country has been a target for U.S., British and now Canadian spy agencies.

The report said the metadata of phone calls and emails from and to the Brazilian ministry were targeted by the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC, to map the ministry’s communications, using a software program called Olympia. It didn’t indicate whether emails were read or phone calls were listened to.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper would neither confirm nor deny the allegations when asked to respond to the report late Sunday night. The “CSEC does not comment on its specific foreign intelligence activities or capabilities,” said Harper’s communications director Jason MacDonald.

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Why the rebirth of manufacturing is bypassing Canada – by Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail – October 7, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — The footwear industry has always been hypersensitive to labour costs. In the hunt for savings, manufacturers are forever scouring the planet for the next best place to produce shoes and boots.

That’s why it’s notable that Merchant House International Ltd., which makes boots for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp., announced last month that it will open its first U.S. plant in Tennessee early next year. Until now, the Hong Kong-based company has made its footwear exclusively at factories in China.

The so-called reshoring phenomenon is now spreading to industries that experts long ago gave up for dead in North America, including clothing, textiles and footwear.

But it isn’t just clothing and textiles. More than half of U.S. executives at manufacturers with sales of at least $1-billion (U.S.) say they are planning to repatriate some production to the United States from China, according to an August survey by Boston Consulting Group. Respondents cited factors such as proximity to customers, product quality and lower transportation costs, competitive wage rates and skilled labour.

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Malaysia’s state-owned energy giant to spend $36B building gas plant, pipeline in Canada – by Matthew Fisher (National Post – October 7, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Stephen Harper arrived for a summit of Asian leaders Sunday with economic momentum, following an announcement that Malaysia’s state-owned energy giant, Petronas, plans what its prime minister termed a “gargantuan” investment of $36 billion in Canada.

Petronas plans to build both a liquefied natural gas plant and fund the building by a Canadian company of a pipeline from the plant, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Sunday. This investment will be in addition to the nearly $6 billion Cdn that Petronas paid last year to purchase Calgary-based Progress Energy Inc.

“I am told this is the largest direct investment in Canada by any country,” Najib said at a brief news conference in the opulent prime minister’s office in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur, before he and Harper left Malaysia separately to attend the annual APEC summit of Pacific Rim leaders.

“This is a very significant landmark decision by Petronas,” Najib said. “It is done in the wake of the friendly relations we have and the positive response we received from the Canadian government in respect to Petronas’ involvement in Canada … We have a very high level of confidence that this investment will be supported by the Canadian government today and in the future.

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Markets hunger for Canadian bitumen, not refined oil – by Brian Lee Crowley (Globe and Mail – October 4, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

What is it about Canada’s natural resources that make normally sensible people take leave of their business and economic senses and clamour for policies that sound good, but a moment’s analysis reveals as a fraud and a chimera?

Natural-resource nationalism, the idea that “our” natural resources should go through every stage of processing within Canada, is one such policy. People as diverse as author Jeff Rubin, West Coast newspaper publisher David Black, trade union leaders, consumer advocates and many others believe Canada is somehow “losing out” when it exports bitumen from the oil sands, for example, rather than refined products like gasoline and jet fuel. Many of them look at the discount on Western Canadian oil and, misunderstanding its significance, agitate for that oil to be shipped east where it will prove a boon for consumers.

Both ideas are quite wrong.

Take the oil sands, for example. The oil sands do not produce oil, but a tarry sandy substance called bitumen, which contains oil. To refine the bitumen, you need to upgrade it to a refinable state (so-called synthetic crude); that takes either an upgrader or a coker.

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Calgary-based mining company suing Costa Rica for more than $1 billion – by Jeremy Hunka (Global News – October 4, 2013)


LA TIGRA, Costa Rica – A billion-dollar showdown is looming in Central America this week as a Calgary-based mining company announced it will sue the country of Costa Rica, infuriating residents who say their sovereignty is being taken away.

Infinito Gold was hoping to operate an open-pit gold mine in the Crucitas region of Costa Rica’s north. On its website, the company says it “…completed all the environmental, social and technical studies and obtained all approvals required under Costa Rican law to develop and operate the Las Crucitas Project.”

But the project was held up in court, and after irregularities were found in the approval process the mine’s approval was declared illegal. In 2011, Costa Rica banned all open-pit metal mining.

“It took a lot of effort,” says Otto Mendez, who fought against the mining project. “It took a lot of people and a lot of money.” But now, Infinito Gold says it will take the country of Costa Rica to international arbitration.

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Ring of Fire mining project no magic bullet for aboriginal communities: Rae – by Will Campbell (Canadian Press/Montreal Gazette – October 5, 2013)


TORONTO – Former Liberal leader Bob Rae says natural resource projects such as Ontario’s massive Ring of Fire aren’t a “magic bullet” to eliminate poverty in remote aboriginal communities.

Rae told a conference on Saturday that several approaches are needed — including jobs training, education and governance — to help the resource-rich but underdeveloped areas raise themselves up. “If you want to see conditions of real underdevelopment, and see what the impact is on people and families, on children and on adults, you do not have to go very far,” he told the crowd.

The former MP recounted his experiences from a trip to northern Ontario trip that he returned from on Friday, which included a visit to the community of Marten Falls First Nation. Rae said roughly 300 people live with intermittent electricity, $8 cartons of milk and no Internet access.

Marten Falls lies within the 5,000-square kilometre boundary of the Ring of Fire, a mining project that the Ontario and federal governments hope will attract billions of dollars in private investment to extract valuable minerals such as stainless-steel ingredient chromite.

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